(A) When an appropriate law enforcement official has probable cause to believe that property in the possession of a pawnbroker is misappropriated or stolen, he shall deliver to the pawnbroker the relevant police report or case number pertaining to the property, and the pawnbroker shall release the property to the appropriate law enforcement agency for use in a criminal investigation or return the property to the identified innocent owner. A pawnbroker who releases the property to law enforcement must be listed as a statutory victim on all transmitted reports and case files. If at the conclusion of the criminal investigation no identifiable innocent owner is found, the property must be returned to the pawnbroker by the appropriate law enforcement agency.

(B) The release of the property to the custody of the appropriate law enforcement official is not considered a waiver or release of the pawnbroker’s property rights or interest in the property. Upon completion of the criminal proceeding involving the property identified as stolen, the court additionally shall order the conveying customer to pay restitution to the pawnbroker in the amount received by the conveying customer for the property.

Terms Used In South Carolina Code 40-39-145

  • Probable cause: A reasonable ground for belief that the offender violated a specific law.
  • Restitution: The court-ordered payment of money by the defendant to the victim for damages caused by the criminal action.

(C) When law enforcement seizes property pursuant to subsection (A), they shall hold the seized property for ten business days before releasing it to an innocent owner. During this ten business day period, a pawnbroker may file an action for claim and delivery of the seized property, provided it also shall serve notice of this action to the law enforcement agency. If no notice is received within this ten business day period, the law enforcement agency may release the property to an identified innocent owner. A law enforcement agency that receives notice shall hold the property during the pendency of the action.